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Himachal Pradesh Placed Under Lockdown to Check Spread of Coronavirus

File photo of Himachal Pradesh CM Jai Ram Thakur.

File photo of Himachal Pradesh CM Jai Ram Thakur.

Urging people not to panic, Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur said the government is ready to meet any eventuality and essential services will continue as usual.

Shimla: Himachal Pradesh has been placed under lockdown indefinitely to check the spread of coronavirus, Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur said on Monday.

The chief minister made the announcement before the state assembly was adjourned sine die.

People should not panic as the government is ready to meet any eventuality, he said, adding that the lockdown will remain in force till further orders.

Essential services will, however, continue, as usual, the chief minister said.

Meanwhile, Leader of Opposition Mukesh Agnihotri sought the creation of a special state fund to fight the virus on the lines of the Rajasthan government.

On Sunday, the lockdown was imposed in Kangra district where two confirmed cases of coronavirus were reported.

A 32-year-old man from Harchakkian tehsil and a 64-year-old woman from Dohabe village in Shahpur subdivision tested positive for coronavirus. Besides, a number of people were kept under home quarantine.

Thakur said that a total of 1,237 people were kept under surveillance and 426 of them had completed the mandatory quarantine of 28 days.

He said a total of 57 tests for COVID-19 were conducted of which two cases were positive while the rest were negative.

Urging the people to practise social distancing to defeat the virus, the chief minister said that remaining in isolation is the best way to keep the virus at bay.

Strict action has been taken against those violating medical directions under sections 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) and 270 (malignant act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life) of the Indian Penal Code, he added.

The chief minister said the state currently has the facility of testing 80 people daily in three labs at IGMC Shimla, Tanda College in Kangra and Medical College, Ner Chowk in Mandi.

"We have sought permission from the Centre to start tests of suspected corona patients at Zonal Hospital Mandi and CRI Kasauli," he said.

Thakur said a financial package, grant and subsidy would be provided to the needy for which modalities would be declared after duly considering all aspects.

The CM said that private business establishments would not be allowed to cut salaries and retrench their workers.

Earlier, Mukesh Agnihotri had asked the chief minister to announce a complete lockdown in the state with immediate effect.

Agnihotri said that strict implementation of government instructions should also be ensured to check the spread of the virus.

The leader of opposition also sought the creation of a special state fund on the lines of Rajasthan government for fighting the virus.

Agnihotri demanded subsidised food items for the needy and advance pension for the beneficiaries and advance wages for NREGA workers.

The leader of opposition said that government employees except those engaged in handling COVID-19 should not be asked to come to the office.

Demanding a financial package for the needy, Agnihotri said that the opposition is with the state government in the fight against the virus.

The leader of opposition said that the state government should also ensure availability of medical equipment in plenty, including thermal scanners.